21 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About The Secret Service
There are plenty of myths about the US Secret Service, but these agents are not really like you've seen them in movies.
1. Their hands are always ready.
The agents always keep their hands at their waist, ready to act quickly and reach for their weapons.
2. They sometimes make mistakes.
Secret Sevice agents are vigilant and well trained, but they are also humans and like everyone else, they sometimes fail at their jobs, too. There is a story of Obama riding in an elevator with an armed officer when a man with a knife entered the ground of The White House by jumping over the fence.
3. They don't wear sunglasses.
You might have seen agents in movies wearing black suits and sunglasses, but in real life, they never use sunglasses, as they could miss something important.
4. It wasn't founded to protect the President.
The Secret Service was created to cope with counterfeiters and financial frauds and even now it still deals with such issues.
5. It was founded on the day Lincoln was murdered.
Hugh McCulloch, the Secretary of the Treasury presented the idea of establishing the Secret Service to Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Later that night, the President was shot.
6. Their headquarters are kept secret.
The Secret Service headquarters is located in a building with no identification signs, in Washington, on a street with a very short name: H Street. There are no trash cans nearby, so there's no place to install a bomb.
7. Only one agent was killed in the line of duty.
There is only one Secret Service agent in history who died in the line of duty: Leslie Coffelt was killed on November 1, 1950, while defending President Harry Truman.
8. They don't swear to die for the President.
This is just a Hollywood myth. If an agent sacrifices their life to defend the President, they do it voluntarily and not because of an oath.
9. They monitor and record everything.
The Secret Service agents use a lot of cameras because they are very helpful in solving an incident or finding a perpetrator. After Kennedy was murdered, they decided to have a car responsible for video recording in a presidential cortege.
10. They track all threatening letters.
All electronic and paper letters that contain threats of any king are checked by the Secret Service. They also have a database with thousands of types of ink to make the investigation process easier.
11. The accompany the President to the doctor.
The President is accompanied by an agent even when he sees the doctor.
12. They participate in the President's hobbies.
The President is accompanied by agents in everything he does, even his hobbies. Jogging, fishing or hiking, if the President goes, the agents do, too.
13. There are motion sensors in the floor of the Oval Office.
According to the Secret Service's rules, the president shouldn't be left alone. When the President wants to stay alone in the office, they use the sensors in the floor to trace any movement and potential threat.
14. Presidents have code names.
This is not just a myth, the Secret Service does use code names for presidents. They usually begin with the same letter for the whole family, for example, Obama was Renegade, his wife was Renaissance and their daughters were Radiance and Rosebud.
15. Mount Weather is real.
If terrorists want to assassinate the highest government representative, they will more likely fail. There is an underground bunker in the mountain, used to hide a government representative during an event where all other state officials gather.Â
16. They always carry presidential blood with them.
The agents are always prepared to perform a blood transfusion if needed and they always carry some extra blood for the president.
17. They are always prepared to provide first aid.
They all have medical skills and they're trained to keep calm and save lives in critical situations. All president's routes are set in such way so a hospital is always 10 minutes away.
18. They are trained to throw themselves in front of bullets and survive in water.
Prior to an important event, they rehearse all possible scenarios of murder attempts and shootouts, using bullets specifically made for these training sessions.
19. There are 3 service phases.
Before being involved in the fieldwork, agents have to work at the office for 3 years if they want to face challenging tasks. In the final phase, an agent is either promoted to a higher position or returns to office work.
20. They don't just guard presidents.
The president, their family, the former presidents and their families are all under the protection of the Secret Service. They're also responsible for the safety of the president's guests and anyone else the president wants to be protected.
21. There are more of them than you think.
If you've imagined 100 agents, you'll be surprised to learn that there are around 6,500 elite soldiers. In addition, there are also those who work for the personal protection unit.